James Bulger mother 'disgusted' at Oscar nomination for film about son's brutal murder

Denise Fergus previously called for the film to be removed from the Academy shortlist

Jacob Stolworthy
Tuesday 22 January 2019 17:04
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James Bulger's mother Denise Fergus: short film 'Detainment' about killers should be removed from Oscars shortlist

The mother of James Bulger has expressed her "disgust" after a documentary about her son's murder earned an Oscar nomination.

Irish filmmaker Vincent Lambe’s short film Detainment is based on transcripts of police interviews with Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, who were convicted of murdering two-year-old Bulger after abducting him from a shopping centre when they were 10.

Denise Fergus previously called for the film to be removed from the Oscars shortlist in the Best Live Action Short category. However, earlier today, The Big Sick star Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish) announced it had indeed been nominated.

"I cannot express how disgusted and upset I am at this so-called film that has been made and now nominated for an Oscar," Fergus wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.

"It's one thing making a film like this without contacting or getting permission from James's family, but another to have a child re-enact the final hour of James's life before he was brutally murdered and making myself and my family have to relive this all over again."


She thanked all who had signed a petition calling for the Academy to boycott the film, before continuing: "I'm so angry and upset at this present time. I just hope the film doesn't win its category in the Oscars."

Lambe has since apologised for not consulting with the family beforehand, but denied making the film for “financial gain."

Speaking to RTE, he said: “[Detained] was never intended to bring any more anguish to the Bulger family. In hindsight, I think we probably should have got in touch or let her [Denise Fergus] know we were going to make it."

You can find a full list of the 2019 Oscar nominations here.

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